Saddiq Bey

Southeast Notes: Muscala, Shamet, Hornets, Hawks

Wizards big man Mike Muscala, who was acquired from Boston this offseason in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, got the Latin phrase “carpe diem” (it translates to “seize the day”) tattooed on his right forearm this summer in honor of his late mother, who passed away prior to 2022/23. As Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network writes, the 11-year veteran tries to his embody his mother’s zeal for life by bringing her “positive energy” and gratitude, both on and off the court.

You owe [the starters], when you come in off the bench, just to have that extra energy, and try to, like you said, bring a spark,” Muscala said. “It doesn’t got to be anything crazy, but something to just kinda change the game up a little bit, figure out how you can fit into that. I feel like we got a lot of guys on this team that can do that, too. That’ll be a big thing for us throughout the season.”

Muscala, 32, has appeared in three of Washington’s four games, averaging 3.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per night. He’s playing on an expiring $3.5MM contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Wizards guard Landry Shamet, another offseason addition who was acquired from Phoenix in the Bradley Beal trade, made his ’23/24 season debut on Wednesday, recording eight points, two assists and a steal in 12 minutes. As Josh Robbins of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), Shamet had missed all of preseason and Washington’s first three games with a fractured left toe. Now on his fifth team in six seasons, Shamet could be a free agent next summer — his contract is only guaranteed for this season.
  • Slow starts to games and poor defensive rotations have plagued Charlotte through four games, with the Hornets off to a 1-3 start. Head coach Steve Clifford said he’s still trying to figure out how to juggle the rotations, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “That’s ever evolving,” Clifford said. “That’s every day. To be honest with you, I think once you start playing, I think if you talk to most coaches, that’s what you spend your time on. But I do have to be careful in that it still starts with you want the guys on your team to be in rhythm when they are playing. And you can’t just do, ‘We are going to play match-up basketball every night,’ because you can’t be taking guys out. I really think if a guy doesn’t play at least six minutes, you can’t expect him to play well.”
  • Hawks head coach Quin Snyder told reporters on Wednesday that minutes at power forward will be split between Saddiq Bey, Jalen Johnson and — to a lesser extent — De’Andre Hunter, who mostly plays the three. Neither Snyder nor the players are concerned with who starts, per Brad Rowland (Twitter link). “People get fixated on starting,” Snyder said as part of a larger quote. “It is what it is. You go watch a game in Europe, they start different lineups all the time and no one thinks anything of it. … I think, particularly in Saddiq and Jalen’s case because they’ve both started games, they haven’t thought about it the way the general public thinks about it. … And that’s refreshing, because I think it shows their commitment to the bottom line, which is not the stat sheet. It’s the wins.”

Eastern Notes: I. Smith, Strus, Hawks, Bulls, Dosunmu

Ish Smith‘s new contract with the Hornets is a one-year, minimum-salary deal that is fully non-guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Although Smith didn’t sign in the offseason, his salary won’t be prorated, since he finalized his deal on the very first day of the regular season. That means if he remains under contract through January 7, 2024, which would guarantee his full salary, he’ll make $3,196,448 while the Hornets carry a cap hit of $2,019,706. Until then, he’ll earn $18,370 per day, with no assurances for the full season.

Smith is one of three Hornets players without a fully guaranteed salary — Frank Ntilikina and JT Thor are also on non-guaranteed contracts.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Max Strus‘ debut with the Cavaliers couldn’t have gone much better, as the club’s new starting small forward racked up 27 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn. “I wish I could guarantee that every night, but I don’t think it’s going to be like that,” Strus said after the game, per Chris Fedor of “I think we have so many talented guys on this roster. It’s going to be anybody’s night any given game. One through 15, anybody can step up and play for us. That’s when our team is going to be very successful when we’re all enjoying each other’s success, and everybody is chipping in.”
  • After Jalen Johnson, De’Andre Hunter, and Saddiq Bey each played at least 29 minutes in the Hawks’ regular season opener, head coach Quin Snyder stressed that he expects all three forwards to get regular playing time and that he doesn’t necessarily need to roll with just two of them at the expense of the third. “It’s not a binary question of Jalen or Saddiq,” Snyder said (Twitter link via Brad Rowland of Locked on Hawks). “Maybe tonight will make that clear.”
  • While he acknowledged that a blowout loss at home – followed by a players-only meeting – wasn’t exactly a great way to start the season, Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan said the important thing is how the team bounces back in its second game on Friday, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “You can sit up there and have a million conversations about something,” DeRozan said. “But it’s about how you respond and the mindset that I know how everybody came in here (to practice) with, how they feel. That’s how I know for a fact (Friday) will not be like (Wednesday). I can guarantee you that.”
  • The NBA has recognized Ayo Dosunmu for his work off the court, naming the Bulls guard the winner of the NBA Cares Bob Lanier Community Assist award, the league announced on Thursday in a press release.

Maxey, Quickley, Williams Among Players Who Didn’t Sign Extensions

An unusual number of players who were eligible to sign rookie scale extensions prior to Monday’s deadline inked new deals. A total of 14 players received rookie scale extensions in 2023, blowing away the previous single-year record of 11.

However, nearly half of the 27 eligible players didn’t sign a contract and thus will head to restricted free agency, if they are extended qualifying offers by their respective teams after the season. Otherwise, they’ll be unrestricted free agents next summer.

Perhaps the biggest name on the list is Sixers star guard Tyrese Maxey, though that comes with an asterisk. The Sixers front office and Maxey mutually agreed to put off an extension so that Philadelphia could maximize its cap room next summer.

Immanuel Quickley and Patrick Williams are two of the other big-time names on the list who didn’t reach agreements with their teams. While the Knicks and Quickley’s reps — as well as the Bulls and Williams’ reps — held extension talks as the deadline neared, they couldn’t come to terms on the numbers.

Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn (Raptors), Saddiq Bey (Hawks), James Wiseman and Killian Hayes (Pistons), Kira Lewis (Pelicans), Chuma Okeke (Magic), Isaac Okoro (Cavaliers), Aleksej Pokusevski (Thunder) and Obi Toppin (Pacers) are the other eligible players who didn’t sign extensions.

A full list of the players who did, or did not, sign rookie scale extensions this offseason can be found here.

Hawks Sign Onyeka Okongwu To Four-Year Extension

5:46pm: The deal is official, the Hawks have confirmed in a press release.

4:47pm: The Hawks have reached an extension agreement with center Onyeka Okongwu, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who hears from agent Sam Goldfeder that the two sides are completing a four-year, $62MM deal.

Okongwu, who will turn 23 in December, was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft. He has primarily come off the bench in his first three professional seasons, starting just 28 of 178 games for Atlanta.

However, Okongwu has gradually taken on a more significant role each year, setting new career highs in points (9.9), rebounds (7.2), and minutes (23.1) per game in 80 appearances in 2022/23 and posting impressive offensive rebounding numbers following the arrival of Quin Snyder, per Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). He projects to take on more responsibilities in the Hawks’ frontcourt this season with big man John Collins no longer on the roster.

While $15.5MM per year is a substantial price to pay for a reserve, it could turn out to be a bargain if Okongwu continues to improve and eventually replaces Clint Capela as Atlanta’s starting center. Capela’s name popped up in trade rumors this offseason and it wouldn’t be a surprise if that happens again in the coming months now that the team has made a long-term commitment to Okongwu.

His long-term contract agreement with the Hawks ensures that Okongwu becomes part of a record-setting class of rookie scale extension recipients in 2023. He’s the 14th players to agree to a rookie scale extension this year, blowing away the previous record of 11, which was set in 2021 and matched in 2022.

Hawks forward Saddiq Bey was also among the players eligible to sign a rookie scale extension by Monday’s 5:00 pm CT deadline, but he didn’t reach a deal with the team, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Extension Rumors: McDaniels, P. Williams, Bey, Mann, J. Green

The five-year deal that Devin Vassell signed with San Antonio, which will be worth at least $135MM, plus incentives, threw a “grenade” into some other rookie scale extension negotiations around the NBA, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast.

However, even before word of Vassell’s extension broke, Lowe had heard that Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels was seeking a “large amount of money” on a potential new deal with Minnesota. Lowe believes that McDaniels is in position to command a significant payday.

“If I’m Jaden McDaniels, I’m saying, ‘That dude (Vassell) got ($135MM+) playing 38 games on a s—t team with no stakes?'” Lowe said. “‘I didn’t average 18-and-a-half (points) per game, but I shot it well from three. I’m already an All-Defense-level player. You guys – Minnesota, all you people I’m negotiating with, the brass – expressed outrage that I didn’t make an All-Defensive team, so you obviously agree that I’m one of the 10 best defensive players in the NBA.

“Yeah, I punched a wall, sorry. (But) I’m essential to your team in a critical two- or three-year period. I’m a winning three-and-D player, and watch me do a little bit more with the ball this year. Pay up. Pay up.'”

While Lowe thinks that McDaniels would be warranted in seeking an annual salary of at least $30MM per year, his ESPN colleague Bobby Marks suggested that an extension worth in the neighborhood of $134MM over five years (just below Vassell’s deal) might make sense for both the player and the team.

Here are a few more notes on possible extension candidates around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Patrick Williams, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension, is one player whose asking price may be influenced by Vassell’s new contract, according to Lowe. “I’m hearing Patrick Williams wants big numbers. Like, starts with a two and isn’t two-zero kind of stuff,” Lowe said, expressing skepticism that Chicago will go anywhere near that high for the forward. “… If that ends up being true and the Vassell deal ends up being the comp that his agents go to – which is what I would do if I were them – that’s a lot of cheese. Go to restricted free agency and get it.”
  • Here’s what Lowe had to say on the Hawks‘ rookie scale extension negotiations with forward Saddiq Bey: “$18 to $20 (million per year) is an interesting conversation with Saddiq Bey, because it’s enough above the mid-level that he’s got to think about it. I’ve heard those negotiations have not been going great. I don’t think Atlanta’s gotten to that level yet.”
  • Terance Mann, who is in the first season of a two-year, $22MM extension he signed with the Clippers in 2021, will be eligible to sign a new deal up until Monday, but he told reporters on Saturday that a preseason extension is “not happening” (Twitter link via Justin Russo). Mann will be extension-eligible again next offseason, so there’s no rush for either side to get something done now. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the 27-year-old – whose inclusion has been a sticking point in the James Harden trade talks between L.A. and Philadelphia – would be ineligible to be dealt this season if he signs an extension with a raise exceeding 5%.
  • The Mavericks and wing Josh Green continue to discuss a possible rookie scale extension ahead of Monday’s deadline, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link).

John Collins Trade Notes, Reactions

It’s easy to understand from a financial perspective why trading John Collins to Utah in a salary-dump deal is the right move for the Hawks, who no longer project to be a taxpayer in 2023/24, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Still, Schultz views the move as an embarrassing culmination of three years of trade rumors, which began even before Collins signed a five-year, $125MM contract with the team in 2021.

Certainly, if the Hawks had moved Collins a year or two earlier, they could’ve brought back more value from an on-court perspective. As Shams Charania of The Athletic writes, Atlanta had an opportunity to acquire Harrison Barnes from the Kings in a Collins deal last June, but decided against it. The Hawks will instead acquire Rudy Gay and a second-round pick from the Jazz.

Collins’ exit will give young players like Jalen Johnson and AJ Griffin the opportunity to play larger roles going forward, according to Schultz, who adds that the Hawks will continue to explore the trade market. Although Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter are viewed as possible candidates to be dealt, don’t expect Dejounte Murray to go anywhere. Schultz says a number of teams have inquired on Murray, but GM Landry Fields and head coach Quin Snyder are both fans of the veteran guard.

Here’s more on the Collins trade:

  • Gay is unlikely to actually suit up for the Hawks next season, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). People familiar with the situation tell Williams that the team is expected to try to trade Gay. If no favorable deals emerge, he’ll likely be waived.
  • There’s no shame in admitting that the Collins trade is a salary dump, says ESPN’s Bobby Marks (YouTube link), pointing out that the move will give the Hawks flexibility for future deals with players like Saddiq Bey and Onyeka Okongwu.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic takes a look at what Collins will bring to the Jazz and how adding him to the mix will affect the rest of the roster. Based on the current make-up of the frontcourt, it appears that Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and Kelly Olynyk will have major roles, with others – including Taylor Hendricks – vying for playing time, says Jones.
  • The Jazz‘s acquisition of Collins signals that the front office is willing to accelerate the team’s rebuilding process rather than simply continuing to stockpile draft picks and build through the draft, writes Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required).
  • Zach Harper of The Athletic is far more bullish on the Jazz‘s side of the Collins deal, giving Utah a grade of A for the move while assigning the Hawks an “F-plus.”

Hawks “Open To Conversations” On Anyone But Trae Young

After a tumultuous 2022/23 season saw the Hawks fire their head coach for the second time in three seasons, there was a rumor they might consider trading Trae Young, who reportedly had issues with both Lloyd Pierce and Nate McMillan.

However, Young expressed confidence in new head coach Quin Snyder after the 2022/23 season ended, and league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports the Hawks are “open to conversations” on anyone on their roster except for their point guard, implying they plan to continue building around the two-time All-Star.

That said, Fischer cautions Atlanta isn’t actively looking to move certain players, particularly Dejounte Murray. Sources tell Fischer the Hawks highly value Murray, whom the team acquired last offseason from San Antonio. Atlanta’s front office is apparently using some sort of tiered ranking system for the roster, and the 26-year-old stands on his own just below Young, according to Fischer.

Fischer previously reported that the Hawks discussed a framework of a trade that would have sent John Collins and the No. 15 pick in next week’s draft to the Mavericks in exchange for Davis Bertans and No. 10. It sounds as though Dallas balked at that proposal, so there wasn’t much progress in the talks, but Fischer hears from sources who say the Mavs might be open to a deal if Clint Capela was the incoming player instead of Collins.

Onyeka Okongwu is the Hawks player most rival teams have expressed interest in, according to Fischer, with Capela, Collins and De’Andre Hunter also viewed as trade candidates. However, Capela has good chemistry with Young, and the Hawks value Hunter, having signed him to a lucrative rookie scale extension before ’22/23 started, Fischer notes.

The Hawks are expected to keep Saddiq Bey, whom the team acquired for five second-round picks at the February trade deadline, Fischer adds. Like Okongwu, Bey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension extension this summer.

Sources tell Fischer that Atlanta is thought to be high on Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who has one year left on his contract. Siakam will be extension-eligible this summer, but the two-time All-NBA member could choose to hold off on that decision, as he’ll be eligible for a super-max extension with Toronto in 2024 if he makes another All-NBA team in ’23/24 (he missed out on the honor this past season).

Hawks Notes: Play-In Win, Bey, Young, T. Miller

The Hawks pulled off an upset victory in Miami on Tuesday night to secure a playoff berth and a first-round matchup against Boston. However, despite becoming the first team to defeat a No. 7 seed in a play-in tournament, head coach Quin Snyder and star guard Trae Young didn’t sound prepared to bask in the glow of the achievement after the game, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes.

Asked if the Hawks’ playoff-clinching win was something to celebrate, Snyder said that it was something to “appreciate,” while Young replied, “No, what’s there to celebrate?”

“I mean, it’s cool we made the playoffs,” Young continued. “I’m happy for guys like Saddiq (Bey) who’ve never been in the playoffs, and some of the other rookies and J.J. (Jalen Johnson) and some of the other guys who this is their first time to be able to experience the playoffs, but I mean, for me, I’ve been in the playoffs now three times and a couple of guys have been in way more than I have. It’s cool to be in the playoffs, but you want to win games in the playoffs.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Only Young and Dejounte Murray played more in Tuesday’s play-in victory for the Hawks than Saddiq Bey, who came off the bench to score 17 points in 33 minutes. Bey, having begun the season in Detroit, wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to play in his first postseason game if not for the February trade that sent him to Atlanta. “I never knew it was going to be like this,” Bey said on Tuesday, per Vardon. “I’m just glad to be here, it’s a blessing to be here. But yeah, I was up thinking about it all night. I tried to force myself to sleep, and I thought I hit my deep sleep, but then I’d toss and turn and wake up and it was like, ‘Oh, I’m thinking about the playoffs again.'”
  • Appearing on TNT’s broadcast on Tuesday night (Twitter video link), Jared Greenberg reported that a member of the Hawks’ front office called Trae Young to assure him there was “no merit” to any trade rumors involving him. “They were assuring him that he’s a part of this family,” Greenberg said.
  • The Hawks are promoting Tori Miller to a vice president position, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Miller, who will become one of the NBA’s highest-ranking female executives as a result of the promotion, had been the general manager of the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate.

Southeast Notes: Bey, Magic, Hornets, Richards

Saddiq Bey knew he was the subject of trade rumors going into last month’s deadline, but he was surprised when the Pistons actually dealt him, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Bey was sent to the Hawks in a four-team deal that didn’t become official until four days after it was agreed upon. He decided to look on the bright side of being traded and focus on contributing to his new team.

“It’s tough as a competitor, but you have to remember that once you get traded, somebody wanted you as well,” said Bey, who spent his first two-and-a-half NBA seasons in Detroit. “You could look at it in a negative way, like, ‘Damn, this team didn’t want me? But this team does want me.’ I think for me, looking at my faith, I just really trusted God. I think this is the place He wants me to be at, so I gotta make the most of it.”

The trade put Bey in the middle of a playoff race, and he’s been able to help Atlanta in its postseason push. He’s averaging 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15 games since joining the Hawks while shooting 45.6% from three-point range.

“Saddiq respects the game, works on his body, works on his craft,” teammate John Collins said. “Has a total understanding on what it means to be a pro, so I just try to tell him to stay solid mentally and know that his time is coming.” 

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic are a long shot to climb into the play-in tournament, but they’re enjoying the chance to play spoiler against teams that are above them in the standings, per Nathaniel Marrerro of The Orlando Sentinel. “When you’ve got teams that are trying to fight for playoff spots or fight to get into the playoffs, the intensity in the game is just a lot different,” Markelle Fultz said after Tuesday’s win over the 11th-seeded Wizards. “Any opportunity we get a chance to do that is huge for us and we’ve got to really lock in and take advantage of it.”
  • Steve Apostolopoulos, a Canadian billionaire who had discussions with Michael Jordan about buying the Hornets, has decided to focus on a chance to purchase the NFL’s Washington Commanders, according to Brian Windhorst and Adam Schefter of ESPN. Jordan’s company issued a statement this week revealing that he has talked to minority owner Gabe Plotkin about buying a larger share of the team, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press, but the release doesn’t specify whether Jordan plans to remain the majority owner.
  • Nick Richards‘ new three-year extension with the Hornets includes a team option for the final season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Trade Breakdown: James Wiseman To The Pistons (Four-Team Deal)

This is the 10th entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2022/23 season. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into the most controversial trade of the deadline, a four-team deal between the Pistons, Warriors, Trail Blazers and Hawks.

Trade details

On February 9:

  • The Hawks acquired Saddiq Bey.
  • The Pistons acquired James Wiseman.
  • The Warriors acquired Gary Payton II, the Hawks’ 2026 second-round pick, and the Hawks’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • The Trail Blazers acquired Kevin Knox, either the Hawks’ or Nets’ 2023 second-round pick (whichever is most favorable; from Hawks), the Hawks’ 2024 second-round pick, the Hawks’ 2025 second-round pick (protected 41-60), the Grizzlies’ 2026 second-round pick (top-42 protected; from Warriors), and the Warriors’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • Notes: The Hawks previously traded their 2024 second-round pick to the Trail Blazers with top-55 protection. Those protections were removed as part of this deal. This trade technically wasn’t finalized until February 12, which we’ll cover below.

The Pistons’ perspective:

Wiseman was reportedly atop Detroit’s draft board in 2020, when he was selected No. 2 overall by Golden State. The Pistons wouldn’t have traded for him if they didn’t believe in his talent and potential.

Interestingly, Wiseman is the second former No. 2 overall pick that general manager Troy Weaver has traded for in the past two years, joining Marvin Bagley III. They have several similarities, including being left-handed big men who have struggled with inconsistency and injuries since entering the NBA.

Wiseman was something of a mystery prospect, as he only played three college games at Memphis before being ruled ineligible. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the truncated offseason, he didn’t have a full training camp entering his rookie season, which certainly wasn’t ideal for a player who already was lacking in high-level experience.

He showed some flashes of upside in 2020/21, averaging 11.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 0.9 BPG while shooting 51.9% from the floor and 62.8% from the free throw line in 39 games (27 starts, 21.4 MPG). He also shot 31.6% from three-point range on one attempt per night.

Unfortunately, he sustained a torn meniscus in his right knee that required surgery in April 2021. Wiseman had a lengthy recovery process, which included multiple setbacks and a second surgery – an arthroscopic procedure – in December 2021. He ultimately missed the entire ‘21/22 season.

Prior to the trade, Wiseman had appeared in just 60 NBA contests. In 21 games (12.5 MPG) this season with the Warriors, he averaged 6.9 PPG and 3.5 RPG while shooting 62.8% from the field and 68.4% from the line.

Wiseman, who turns 22 at the end of the month, needed more reps. Weaver said as much after the trade. There’s a lot of pressure on top draft picks like Wiseman, but he’s still early in the learning process, as head coach Dwane Casey noted earlier this month. It’s not something that can be rushed.

The Warriors didn’t have time to be patient with Wiseman. They won the title without him contributing last season, and he was struggling when he played for them in ’22/23. The Pistons are in the midst of a rebuild and can afford to be patient, at least in the short term.

At 7’0″ and 240 pounds with a 7’6″ wingspan, Wiseman has an inherent edge in two areas that can’t be taught: size and length. Those factors, combined with his plus leaping ability, make him a natural lob threat, and he has posted above average rebounding numbers with Detroit. He also has long strides and runs the floor well for a center.

Through 15 games (13 starts, 26.3 MPG) with Detroit, Wiseman is averaging 13.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 0.9 BPG while shooting 55.1% from the field and 68.8% from the line. He’s just 3-of-14 from deep.

It was a risky trade, to be sure. Bey had been a solid contributor for the Pistons and rarely missed games. But they’re in a position where they need to acquire star-level talent if they want to be competitive in the future, and they think Wiseman has the upside to reach that level.

The fit is a bit clunky and will be interesting to monitor going forward. The Pistons seem intent on running a two-big lineup, as they also have Isaiah Stewart (likely out for the season with a shoulder injury) and Jalen Duren, a couple of recent first-round picks. Wiseman, Bagley, Stewart and Duren will all have to improve in multiple areas for it to work.

That frontcourt will be even more crowded if Detroit wins the lottery again and drafts Victor Wembanyama. Still, that would be a good problem to have and would be one the team can figure out later if it happens.

Wiseman will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason. Given how rough around the edges he is, I would think the Pistons will wait on that decision until after ‘23/24, when he could be a restricted free agent if Detroit gives him a qualifying offer.

Ultimately, this trade was a home run swing on Wiseman’s talent. The Pistons had a long look at Bey, but they think Wiseman can be a real difference-maker while viewing Bey as having relatively less upside.

The Warriors’ perspective:

Did Golden State sell low on Wiseman? I don’t think so. Just because he was a top pick a few years ago doesn’t mean he’s still valued as such – if he was, the Warriors would have received more in return.

Golden State’s motion offense requires bigs who can set solid (sometimes illegal) screens and make quick decisions with the ball. Neither of those things are strengths of Wiseman’s at the moment.

The Warriors initially tried to cater to Wiseman as a rookie by clearing out the side and giving him isolation post-up touches. That’s never been their style though, and it totally disrupted the flow of their offense (he also was largely ineffective in those situations, often struggling with getting pushed off his spot, which is something he’s still working on).

After he returned from injury this season, they were using him the same way they’ve used their other centers over the years. He just wasn’t playing well.

Even more troubling than the poor offensive fit was how much he struggled defensively. Wiseman runs the floor well in the open court, but he doesn’t have good body control in tight spaces, especially when backpedaling.

Opponents are shooting 70.3% at the rim against Wiseman, which is the worst mark in the league among centers who contest at least four rim attempts per game, according to‘s data.‘s defensive estimated plus-minus ranks him as the third-worst defender in the NBA. It’s really tough to have the backbone of your defense be that much of a negative.

It’s a small sample size (only 262 minutes), but Wiseman’s net rating with the Warriors in ’22/23 was minus-19.3, with the equivalent of the worst offense and defense in the league (he’s at minus-11.1 with the Pistons). Golden State was plus-2.3 in 2,403 minutes with him off the court.

It just wasn’t working for either side. Wiseman looked confused and was visibly losing confidence, and the Warriors had a healthy player making $9.6MM this season who was detrimental to the team’s success when he played.

Payton, meanwhile, was an excellent fit with the Warriors, helping them win their fourth title in eight seasons in ’21/22. A tremendous athlete, the 6’3″ Payton fit well as a pseudo-big man offensively, recording 55 dunks out of 212 made field goals last season, a remarkably high percentage for a guard.

The 30-year-old had a great understanding of the team’s schemes on both ends, with many of those dunks coming off scripted plays on slipped screens. When healthy, he is a top-tier defensive player often tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player.

The problem was, according to the Warriors’ doctors and Payton himself, he wasn’t healthy. He failed his physical, which held up this four-team deal for three days after the deadline, at which point Golden State ultimately decided to go through with it. He had just started against the Warriors night before the trade, so there’s no way they could’ve known he was going to be sidelined as long as he has.

Payton only played 15 games with the Trail Blazers after signing a three-year contract with them last summer. He was slow to recover from abdominal surgery, which is the same injury that was flagged on his physical. Owner Joe Lacob said Portland was “disingenuous” and broke an “honor code” by not disclosing the extent of Payton’s injury.

This is an unfortunate example of why it’s risky to make a deal at the last minute just before the deadline. If it had been made a few days earlier, the Warriors could have asked to amend the terms of the trade, but they didn’t have that option once the deadline passed.

It’s true the Warriors could have re-signed Payton in the offseason without giving anything up. But due to the way the repeater tax works, his $8.3MM contract would have added about $60MM to their already record-breaking luxury tax bill — an exorbitant amount for a role player.

This trade saved them money both this season and next, as Wiseman is scheduled to make $12.12MM next season in the final year of his rookie deal, while Payton will earn $8.72MM in ‘23/24.

Hopefully Payton is able to return and contribute to close the season, as he has been sidelined since the Warriors approved the deal. He’s an exciting player to watch and played a key role in last season’s title run.

The Trail Blazers’ perspective:

Was it a red flag that Portland was willing to trade Payton so soon after signing him? The Blazers need defensive help and he is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league when active.

Still, I highly doubt there was anything nefarious going on. Differences of opinion happen all the time when it comes to medical issues, which is why players often seek out multiple doctors before undergoing surgery.

If it turns out the Blazers intentionally withheld information about Payton’s injury, then it would rightfully impact their reputation around the league and they might lose a second-round pick. I don’t see why they would risk that just to add a handful of second-rounders and move off Payton’s salary.

The Blazers created an $8.3MM traded player exception as part of the deal, which is what Payton makes this season. They will have until next February to use it.

Portland also added Knox, who makes $3MM this season. The former lottery pick is now on his fourth team in 14 months. His $3MM team option for next season is reasonable enough if the Blazers want to bring him back, but he’s only played 55 minutes in 10 games thus far with Portland.

The Hawks’ perspective:

This trade could be viewed in three parts for the Hawks. First, they sent out five second-rounders to acquire Bey (and Knox, who was then flipped to Portland).

Second, they created about $3MM in salary cap relief by making a four-player trade with Houston at the deadline, dealing away two second-rounders (via the Thunder) in the process. That allowed them to take on Bey’s salary while remaining under the luxury tax line.

Finally, they were able to absorb Bey’s $2.96MM contract with a trade exception they generated last summer when they moved Kevin Huerter to Sacramento.

If you want to look at it in total, they basically shuffled around some end-of-bench players and dealt away seven second-rounders to add Bey, a third-year forward.

You could certainly make the case that Bey was the best player involved in this deal at the time it was made, even if he isn’t a household name. He appeared in 204 of a possible 210 games with Detroit (30.0 MPG), averaging 14.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.0 APG and 0.9 SPG on .400/.357/.843 shooting in two-plus seasons.

From watching him play with the Pistons, I always felt that Bey could really shoot, but he was forced to take difficult shots because they had a team full of young players trying to figure things out, and he was one of the only real threats from deep. I think that experience will make him better in the long run because it helped him develop his off-the-bounce game, and he’s a solid passer who very rarely turns it over. He’s below average on defense, but not a liability or anything.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the Warriors didn’t just take Bey in this deal. He may not have been familiar with the system, and he certainly isn’t nearly the defensive player that Payton is, but I thought they could use another forward instead of another guard, and he seemed like a good fit. He’s also much cheaper than Payton, earning $4.56MM next season in the final year of his rookie contract.

Either way, obviously the Hawks wanted him. Through 15 games (25.1 MPG) in a reduced role with Atlanta, Bey is averaging 10.4 PPG and 4.3 RPG on a strong .466/.456/.789 shooting line.

As with Wiseman, Bey was a first-round pick in 2020 (No. 19 overall) so he will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. The former Villanova product will turn 24 years old on the last day of the regular season (April 9).